Rancho Cucamonga Style, An Outdoors Style Off...and a Mini Michael Jackson??? Yep, Welcome to Project Style Victoria Gardens!!!!
As you probably read in my previous post, I had been in NYC last Friday for some business meetings--along with my NIKOLAKI partner-in-design crime, David Paul. I also attended the Finale Runway Show of Project Runway Season 9. The following day, I got on a 7AM flight to LA. Why? I had very important Duties: I was to Host the "Project Style" at the Victoria Gardens Shopping Center in Rancho Cucamonga--about 40 miles east of Los Angeles.
My plane arrived at LAX at 10AM and I had to be at "VG" (Victoria Gardens) by 11:30AM. Driving in Southern California and 40 miles can be anywhere from 1 hr+ to THREE, so I was scared that I would not make it in time! Somehow, WE MADE IT!!! David might have been doing just a little bit over the speed limit (ooops!) but I took a nap while he drove so I have no proof!
Presenting VG's Project Style Finalists in their "reg" ensembles Pre-Style-Off: (L to R) Moriah Merkelbach (San Bernardino), Bryanna Smith (Alta Loma), Nick Verreos, Veronica Parga (Colton), Rashid Kabia (Alta Loma), and Devon Curtis (Rancho Cucamonga)
Upon arriving the beautiful outdoors mall--located with the gorgeous mountain backdrop in Rancho Cucamonga--I got acquainted with the stage, met "my" DJ and of course, the Finalists of this year's Victoria Gardens "Project Style". These budding stylistas went on shoptopia.com, applied, were picked as Finalists in five different rounds of competition and now they were here for the Live Style-Off.
The Competition was as follows: I gave each of the Finalists a $200 VG Gift Card and they had ONE HOUR to shop for an entire ensemble, put it on and then model it in front of all the audience--including very supportive friends and family AND every random Mall Shopper Attendee!!!--and then a panel of judges would decide who would win the Grand Prize of a $1,000 VG Gift Card!
Once they were out shopping, there was a fun Banana Republic Fashion Show on the center stage showing the latest Fall 2011 Trends, which I also hosted (that's me above with the Banana Republic Fashion Show models).
I also checked out the Swivel Virtual Dressing Room "Booth" where shoppers could "virtually" try on clothes, accessories...even MY NIKOLAKI gowns!!! Oh and, I almost forgot: back onstage (while waiting for the Finalists to return), a mom who was in the audience asked if the DJ could play Michael Jackson and if her son--who LOVES M.J.--could do a dance to one of his songs...
Michael Jackson Mini-Fans: Jaymes and new friend preforming at the Victoria Gardens Project Style 2011 Stage
Well, HUNEEEEYYYY! Of course I let little Jaymes onstage and before I know it, he was bringing the Victoria Gardens Rancho Cucamonga House down!!! He even brought another young "Project Style" attendee to share the stage with him (above photo). I got a video of Jaymes doing his AMAZEEENG Michael Jackson dance number and it's at the end of this post...so don't miss it!!!
After such a fun--and impromptu intermission (Thanks Jaymes!), it was time for the "Project Style" Finalists to come back on stage with their new outfits to be judges. All five did an amazing job and I especially liked the variety of styles in each and every one of the contestants. There was Boho Chic , Elegant Business, Going Out "cocktail" and our guy Rashid, gave the audience "Meet-the-Parents Proper Elegant-Sport".
A Matching Pair: Nick Verreos interviewing Bryanna Smith in her Rachel Roy royal blue jersey draped dress with knee-high stockings, black pumps and black and gold studded clutch.
Business Chic: Nick Verreos interviewing Finalist Veronica Parga on her choice of red flared slacks, black bootie heels, creme drop shoulder blouse and faux croq-skin clutch.
The Style-Off was very close--in fact so close that the judges couldn't decide and it was a TIE!! Between two contestants. So, guess who the Tie-Breaker Judge was? Yep, moi! So, I decided the Winner of the $1,000 VG Gift Card Prize and Project Style 2011 Winner would be...
Boho Winner: Nick Verreos interviewing Our Grand Prize Victoria Gardens Project Style Winner, Moriah Merkelbach
Needless to say, I had a BLAST hosting "Project Style" at the Victoria Gardens Center in Rancho Cucamonga and especially was very happy with the outcome--as well as with our "Michael Jackson Intermission Dance Number"---Oh and speaking of that...
Click BELOW for a GREAT video from "Project Style Victoria Gardens" Intermission, when I let a VERY TALENTED boy named Jaymes on stage to perform a song by Michael Jackson: